In the wake of an Australian government embargo on Chinese peanuts, a group of Sydney Chinese merchants launched a pro-Chinese publicity campaign in late 1927. To do so, they hired a newspaper editor previously employed by the anti-Chinese Labor Daily and Beckett’s Budget. The campaign was an act of minority resistance to the White Australia Policy, a shrewd business strategy, and a sophisticated example of cross-cultural public relations. By tracing two historical actors in this ‘drama of spin’, the peanut and the publicist, this article reveals unexpected links between the Chinese-Australian and Anglo-Australian communities. In seeking ‘the Chinese side of the story’, we find an alternative history of race, representation and citizenship in interwar Sydney.
Field of Research
210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) 210302 Asian History